In Photos: Acura NSX Road Rally 2019
On the road and camping with an NSX.
PACIFIC GROVE, California—Often derided as too quiet for a supercar—which is fair—the modern Acura NSX nevertheless makes some pretty sweet noises. A delightful whooshing sound occurs behind your head, and goading the twin turbochargers into making it quickly became addictive as we devoured back roads from Los Angeles to Monterey. I was running late in a Thermal Orange beauty, but quickly caught up with a candy-colored crew of NSXs at Blackwells Corner, where they'd stopped to refuel and stock up on a weekend's supply of fudge. The NSX scored an Automobile All-Stars trophy in 2017 and we were invited to drive one in the marque's first-ever West Coast road rally. I had a blast racking up hundreds of miles on the hyper-hybrid's odometer, all the while enjoying its high-tech powertrain that can propel the car from zero to 60 mph in about three seconds. One this twisty tarmac, there's no doubt of the Acura's supercar status.
Once in Monterey County, we spent the weekend camping just above Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca's famous Corkscrew, watching the full moon rise and waking to the sounds of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) qualifying runs of the Acura Team Penske and Meyer Shank Racing cars. The elegant and sporty NSX we drove there is powered by a mid-mounted, twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 that, combined with three electric motors, cranks out 573 horsepower and 476 lb-ft of torque. (One electric motor teams with the engine on the rear axle, while a pair of motors works up front to provide torque-vectoring all-wheel drive.) The transmission is a nine-speed dual-clutch automatic that provides quick, smooth shifts. In nearby Carmel, I ran the two-seater in Quiet mode (all-electric), while I was mostly in Sport on the highway. Sport Plus was reserved for the aforementioned back roads and during parade laps with owners of both the first- and second-generation models on the iconic racetrack.
Inside, the cabin of the NSX can be a little snug for two over long stints but is optimal for solo runs like mine. With plenty of general comfort, the Acura works well as a daily driver, although it's worth mentioning you can now order two C8 Corvettes within its $159,300 price tag and still have change left over for options. Surprisingly there is no frunk up front, but there is a small breadbox of a trunk behind the engine that gets toasty enough to bake a few loaves of bread—or heat up a backpack or two. The C8 has room for two golf bags behind the engine plus a cargo area under the hood that can hold a case or two of cold ones. At least there are two detachable cup holders in the NSX that clip in on the passenger's side.
At night we had the pleasure of dining with Acura creative director Dave Marek, who grew up in Northern California with hot-rodder neighbors Don Tognotti and Dick Bertilucci; they worked for legendary custom-car gurus Sam and George Barris. On race day, Acura prototype drivers Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya scored a one-two finish in the #6 Team Penske DPi car and the #7 car that scored second place was driven by Ricky Taylor and Helio Castroneves. Katherine Legge and Christina Nielsen snagged sixth in a the #57 Caterpillar NSX GT3 Evo in the GT Daytona class, and the #86 Drive Pink NSX driven by Trent Hindman and Mario Farnbacher finished 8th. For a paddock tour, a drawing from Marek called "Cali-Mari," and more from our wild weekend, hit our big photo gallery.